School Spotlight: Robbinsdale Area Schools’ Early Childhood Education
The variety of services offered through the Robbinsdale Area Schools’ early childhood program emphasizes partnering up with parents to prepare students for a lifetime of learning. Registration for next school year begins this week.
Creating Inclusive Classrooms
Robbinsdale Area Schools offers early childhood education classes that include everyone.
“The teachers co-teach together,” explains Jenny Porisch, an early childhood special education coordinator. “They have the opportunity to collaborate and really work together. It gives kids the opportunity to have that inclusive setting and work on social goals and have that exposure.”
We visited a classroom of four and five year olds. Teachers teach as a team, which requires behind-the-scenes collaborating.
Teacher Heather Lewis spent time talking to a student about playing and sharing with another student.
“Right now we are working on joined attention and getting two peers to interact together,” explained Lewis. “One is obviously not ready to share their toys. We are trying to get them to implement strategies to get them to solve their own problems.”
After talking to the students, Lewis gets a booklet that visualizes solutions like “share with a friend” or “talk to a teacher.”
Parent Laura Luce had a child with special needs involved in early childhood classes and she plans to send her other children, who have normal development, there too.
“Looking at the way the classroom is integrated and having kids with special needs in the classroom, I really wanted my daughter to have that,” said Luce. “I wanted her to have that diversity around her.”
Robbinsdale Early Childhood Program Partners with Parents
The services and programs the early childhood program offers is varied. But all programs operate on the philosophy that educators are partnering with parents starting at birth.
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes involve parents and children learning together and separately too. Some classes offer sibling care as well as tuition on a sliding scale, which helps make the classes more accessible for everyone.
“Starting very early on, having early childhood family education with both children and parents learning is phenomenal. And we hope to carry that through,” said Anh Tran, the director of early childhood programs. “Building those connections through parent educators or home visits. We really support not only the child, but the family and really look at those wrap-around services.”
For more information about Robbinsdale Area Schools, click here.